MCA Announces Horn Island 30

Contact: Carrie Corbett
Director of College Communications
(901) 272-5111

Aug. 5, 2014


Memphis College of Art Announces 30th Annual Horn Island Exhibition

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ­– Memphis College of Art will present Horn Island 30 in the Rust Hall Main Gallery from Aug. 18 through Oct. 3. A special opening reception will be held on Saturday, Sept. 6 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The works in the exhibition are the outcome of an 11-day annual trip by MCA students, faculty and alumni to Horn Island, Miss., a barrier island that is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Assistant Professor Don DuMont, director of the Horn Island program, coordinates the travel arrangements and logistics for the expedition, which immerses the participants in nature on the undeveloped island that boasts primitive conditions and no amenities. This year’s milestone anniversary brought a larger than average number of participants, with 43 artists making the trip. “We wanted to encourage past participants to celebrate the 30th anniversary with us,” said DuMont, “so we increased the number of alumni slots for the trip to accommodate as many as possible.”

As in past excursions, a visit to the Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs, Miss. is always the first stop. Anderson, an American artist who spent much of his childhood and adult life in coastal Mississippi, drew heavily on the environment and wildlife of Horn Island in his work.

Once on the island, the artists found time for some collaborative projects, creating two assemblages, one made of all natural found objects and another of all man-made found objects, as well as constructing a sotdae—a tall wooden pole with a bird on its top—for the camp. “In the Korean culture, sotdaes are thought to attract good spirits and bring good luck,” said DuMont. “It must have worked, because we had the nicest weather I’ve ever witnessed on a Horn Island excursion.” DuMont noted that the optimal weather encouraged participants to fully explore the island. “Both a student team and an alumni team decided to make the west tip trek,” said DuMont. The teams hiked to the isolated west tip of the island and pitched their tents for an overnight stay, returning to the main camp the following day. Over the years, the Wednesday night of the trip has become a favorite, featuring a dinner of SPAM and a contest for the most elaborate headdress made with found objects. “It can be anything from baseball caps with items affixed on them, to full island regalia,” says DuMont.

Following the expedition, participants are given several weeks to develop a body of work inspired by their island experience, creating work for the exhibition in media that include photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, ceramics and book arts.

Gallery hours for the Horn Island 30 exhibition are Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sunday, noon – 4 p.m.

Photo: Marc Rouillard, “Horn Island Sentinal, Afternoon,” watercolor.

Memphis College of Art provides a rigorous curriculum in an intimate, diverse community to empower generations of leading artists, designers and educators to flourish professionally and contribute valuable ideas to society. The region’s only independent art and design college, MCA is fully accredited with expert, nationally renowned faculty and grants BFA, MFA, MA in Art Education and MA in Teaching degrees with graduates excelling in various careers across the country and internationally. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @memphisart.


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